Articles that are spiritual in nature but don't exactly fit into the other categories.
Click Here for a listing of all articles in this category.
Friday, July 31, 2015, was an interesting day for me. I have decided to record some of the details here in the hopes that some would be inspired to draw closer to God. There is nothing particularly special about me and the events described here are not unique to me. Simply put, Jesus loves me, and He loves you as well, and He draws close to those who draw near to Him.
Perhaps you have heard the saying, “God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.” This is one of those easier to believe sayings when times are going well as opposed to those more difficult times. When we are suffering physical or emotional pain, it may be difficult for us to rejoice in the “God is Good” mantra. When we are under great stress or duress, we may have trouble focusing on the goodness of God. When our emotions or our circumstances have us living on the ragged edge, we may be strained to see the goodness of God.
Here is a message I recently shared at the funeral of a friend. The question I have to ask myself is, "Could my name be inserted here?" Likewise, the question for you is, "Could your name be inserted here?" Read this 10 minute message while inserting your name wherever you see the words "He/She", beginning with the title; "He/She" Got It!
What is Pastoral Care?
Pastoral Care is an important ministry within the church body but the name may be a bit deceiving. The activities are to care for one another, or as Christ our Lord has commanded us, we are to love one another. Both Pastoral Care and obedience to the command of Christ is to engage in acts of love and compassion that are focused on the needs of others.
Romans 8:12-17, Sonship Through The Spirit
So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh-- for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
Ephesians 1:3-14, Redemption In Christ
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.
Galatians 3:23-4:7, Sons And Heirs
But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise. Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
1 John 2:28-3:3, The Children Of God
Now, little children abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him. See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
John 1:9-13, The Rejection Or Acceptance Of Christ
There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
James 1:16-18, First Fruits
Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
We are not sons by nature, but by adoption. Adopted son and heir. Do we truly recognize God as Father, caring and loving? Jesus often referred to God as Father.
Ephesians 3:12, Approach God in freedom and confidence.
This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.
Hebrews 10:19, Enter the Most Holy Place.
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,
Throughout the New Testament
The Father loves the Son. John 5:20 & 15:9-10
The Father is with the Son. John 16:32 & 8:29
The Father loves us also. John 16:27
Jesus wants us with Him. John 17:24 & 1 John 1:3
The Father honors us along with Jesus. John 12:26
In "Knowing God", Pg. 206, J.I. Packer calls our adoption “the highest privilege that the Gospel offers”.
Whereas our justification satisfies the legalities for our sinfulness, our adoption is all about our relationship with the Father. It is a rich relationship with the Creator of all things, the God of all eternity. An intense, intimate relationship that is stronger than any we have ever witnessed in the tightest knit families we have known. We are no longer servants, nor merely friends, but we are children of the living God.
Do our prayer lives reflect these attitudes? Are we approaching God, the Father, our Father, as a young boy who confidently comes running to his father, jumping up into his arms? Or as a daughter who climbs up into her father’s lap to safely snuggle close to him? Children who are confident that they will be caught and assured that they will be held safely. Does our faith match such actions? Do we really understand the assurance we have that we are adopted and will not be cast out? We will not be cast aside by the Father who loved us enough to send His own Son from the throne to the cross so that we could be spared the wrath of God and have our relationship restored for all eternity.
In the early 1980's I had worked for an electrical wholesale distributor in St. Paul, MN. I considered it a forever job as I was being groomed for upper management and I very much liked being there. Unfortunately, the company I was working for went bankrupt and I took the ride down as well having to file for bankruptcy also.
Do you believe that you have ever encountered an angel in your daily life? Angels are servants of God that do His will in ministering to Him and to His followers. Angels do what God commands when and how He wants them to do it. The bible is filled with stories of angels delivering messages, offering encouragement and defending men and women of God. The bible teaches that they also do it at times without people even being aware of it. Here is one of my experiences that could have possibly been an angelic encounter.
The following was originally written on June 08, 2008. I was in the midst of a 6 month recovery from a shoulder surgery that seemed to be going on forever. Though the article is nearly six years old, the lessons remain. I re-post it now as I rebuild my website for the benefit of anyone who is going through tough times and as a fresh reminder to myself. I believe that it is an article worth chewing on.
Sin and it's allure will suck us in until we hit that downward spiral. Paul Harvey had a great illustration of our lust and sin leading to destruction. It is a story about how an Eskimo would kill a wolf.
Paul Harvey wrote an essay titled "If I were the Devil". It appeared in his newspaper column and he read it later on his radio program. The oldest version that I can find is attributed to his newspaper column in 1964 and update in 1996. The details of such is on the Snopes page. The audio in this video is from a reading of the 1996 version and is worth a listen.